HRSA grants AACOM more than $2.2 million to promote mental health and wellness among the healthcare workforce
Recognized for its efforts to address burnout and to advance resilience, belonging and purpose among the osteopathic medical education community, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) was yesterday awarded a $2.2 million grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
“We are very proud of the proposal we developed and are honored to be one of the grantees selected,” said AACOM President and CEO Robert A. Cain, DO. “As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, giving physicians and all healthcare workers the tools they need to help avoid burnout and maintain their overall health—both mental and physical—is critical to the success of our nation’s healthcare system, particularly in rural and underserved areas where healthcare options are severely limited. AACOM is committed to doing all we can to promote and support our current and future health professionals.”
This grant is funded through the American Rescue Plan and will be paid out over three years. The goal of the program is to use evidence-based or evidence-informed strategies to reduce and address burnout, suicide, mental health conditions and substance use disorders and to promote resiliency among the health workforce. These awards, which took into particular consideration the needs of rural and medically underserved communities, are designed to help healthcare organizations establish a culture of wellness among the health workforce and will support training efforts that build resiliency for those at the beginning of their health careers.
AACOM is especially well-suited to this challenge as 58 percent of osteopathic medical schools (COMs) are located in Health Professional Shortage Areas. Fifty percent of incoming 2019-2020 osteopathic medical students plan to practice in a medically underserved or health shortage area; of those, 46 percent plan to practice in a rural community.
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With this grant, AACOM will begin working with its member schools and research partner, Motivate Lab, to adapt innovative and evidence-based higher education STEM training interventions at pilot member COMs that graduate a high percentage of physicians serving rural and underserved areas. After a successful adaptation is tested, this training will be scaled across the rest of AACOM’s member colleges and will be added to AACOM’s established research and survey capabilities to measure the level of burnout and improve physician resiliency over time.
“AACOM and our partner Motivate Lab believe it is time to create systemic, sustainable and impactful outcomes for our future physicians focused on our vital assets: our faculty and our students,” added Dr. Mark Speicher, AACOM’s senior vice president for medical education and research. “We are thankful to our member colleges for helping us advance this important work and to our colleagues at the American Osteopathic Association and National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners for their support of our proposal.”
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